Monday, August 6, 2012

Stepping Towards Godliness

Parshat Ekev
Dvarim 7:12 – 11:25
23 Av 5772 / August 10 – 11, 2012


Stepping Towards Godliness
by Emly Oren, Moishe House Portland

In Parashat Eikev, the third parshah in the book of Dvarim, Moses continues speaking to the Israelites before entering the Promised Land. He promises that if they fulfill the commandments, they will prosper in the land that is, “Flowing with milk and honey.” Moses also addresses the hardships we went through, such as recalling the worship of the Golden Calf and the rebellion of Korach. The Parshah concludes with the description of manna and the blessings of the seven species. 

I noticed the first sentence uses this week’s Parshah, “Eikev”, as a conjunction of “because”: “And it shall come to pass because you heartened and you listened and you obeyed God’s commandments.” As a noun, however, Eikev is defined as a “heel.” For me, this definition gives me more insight. The Israelites have stopped wandering the desert and are about to enter the Promised Land. They have walked long and far and are now grounding themselves with their heels. In this Parshah, heels symbolize our history and the lessons that Moses has taught us. Now the Israelites are entering their new home with their feet forward, knowing that their heel has led them to this very moment. It is up to them to let their toes guide them in the right direction while allowing their heals to be grounded.

Where we put our feet depends on the choices we make and the direction we take is completely up to us. During this week I think it is important to ask ourselves the following questions: Are we walking with our feet towards godliness or away from it? Are we stepping into a place of light or darkness? This week’s portion is teaching us that we have choices to make in life. May we enter this week with the direction of free-will and may our feet guide us to a place of holiness. 


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